Sunday, May 31, 2009

Fake News Dept.: Local view on Obama poetry slam (or jam. whatever)

Slam-dunk: Ms Sinema Goes to Washington

Sinema: Hot! Jones: Hoth Angelou: Poet Penn: Pothead?

State Rep. Kyrsten Sinema was invited to a first-ever Poetry Slam held at the White House on Tuesday, May 12. “I was thinking of sending my regrets, as that was the date of the special Phoenix Historic Preservation Commission hearing on the Biltmore PUD rezoning,” said Sinema, a Willo Historic District resident. “But then I thought, rezoning hearing, White House, rezoning hearing, White House, and I guess I just tipped in favor of the honor of an invitation to the official residence of the historic new leader of the free world and his glamorous but down-to-earth family.”
Even when the decision hung in the balance, Sinema said she didn’t consider flipping a coin, “Because they all still only have old, dead white men on them. Well, as I don’t have any Susan B. Anthony or Sacagawea coins lying around, that is. Sue me.”
Featured attendee James Earl Jones’ poem was released in advance:
Barack, I am your father!
Come over to the dark side.
Forget those Kansas crackers;
We are your staunchest backers!
(stentorian intake, outrush of breath)
Many consider Poetry Slams the original, white “rap,” but a visit to the official poetry slam website reveals that isn’t so. While rap indeed had its origins as a kind of competitive, rhyming exchange, slam poetry is, like other expressions of an actual literary oeuvre or tradition, pre-written rather than extemporaneous. According to the website’s FAQs, what the difference is between poetry and slam poetry is “not the right question to ask.” [huh? An actual, “frequently asked question” is a wrong question?] The site adds, “There is no such thing as ‘slam poetry.’” [huh? ]
The site goes on to explain that slam poetry is poetry that is expressly written to be “heard” (as opposed to seen and not heard, perhaps) and that in competition, slam focuses on both the poem and the delivery, adding that “Winning a poetry slam requires some measure of skill and a huge dose of luck.”
Sinema, singing out that, loving people*, she is “One of the luckiest people in the world,” characterized the skill part this way: “For example, if you were not just a Beat poet, but a slam poet performing the Beat poem “Howl,” you would probably recite it while also doing an impression of Jack Nicholson in the Mike Nichols film “Wolf,” running around chewing up the scenery—literally—peeing on Rahm Emanuel’s shoes and having it on with a lifelike effigy of Michelle Pfeiffer.”
Sinema said she was really looking forward to meeting universal women’s and girls’ role model Michelle Obama, who at 5 feet 11 inches tall “is still not really Willo-wy,” the Willo resident quipped, in an apparent oblique—and rare—catty reference to the tall, stylish and shapely First Lady’s nonetheless “womanly” booty.
In further comments made in an interview before the event, Sinema said she was working on her poem, though she wasn’t sure she was being invited to actually deliver one, and, even if so, had her doubts whether doing so would show proper decorum. “I may have it ready, but decline to recite it myself and instead have it performed by Maya Angelou, like when Sarah Palin was on ‘Saturday Night Live’ last fall but Amy Poehler did her rap for her.
“That may give me a little more breathing room to chat up that cute Kal Penn,” the Indian-American actor who was recently appointed associate director at the Office of Public Liaison, as the point person for the arts and Asian-American communities in the White House, the pretty-hot-herself Sinema said. “Speaking of lifelike, he looks extremely vivacious—despite his having recently been killed off on the hit medical show ‘House,’” she added, forgetting (or maybe not???) that “vivacious” is almost exclusively used as a demeaning “compliment” to, or characterization of, a woman. (Like saying a black person is “articulate.” Or “clean.” We’re talking to you, Biden!) Sinema added she might be willing to nudge her openly professed bisexuality (*all people) lightly and briefly into a closet in some White House hallway in favor of a some meaningful “face time” with the dreamy Penn.
That is, “Unless I intuitively discern he’s open to a little three-way with Maya,” Sinema—who along with not being sexist, racist, ethnocentric, egocentric or concentro-centric, is also decisively catholic (*all people) in her personal, “romantic” tastes, and is certainly not ageist—said.
Penn also recently co-starred in the hit sequel “Harold and Kumar Escape From Guantanamo Bay,” leading to speculation he is aiding in administration plans for closing down that facility by placing other, not-the-worst-of-the-worst detainees in largely symbolic White House positions like his own.
Meanwhile, “I wish I coulda got to go to the White House instead of, or even with, Kyrsten,” said Arizona House of Representatives Democratic Whip “Hanging Chad” Campbell. “But I’m already pretty ‘slammed’ here at the Legislature, anyway, what with the state budget crisis. Ha ha.”
—David Tell

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Branding the city: ‘I Heart Phoenix’

'Copper Square's' not good enough?

As in an old fairy tale, maybe Arizona's urban "heart" is made of flint — easily cracked if too much feeling wells up

Perhaps to try to make up for one of its editors recently disputing the validity of the designation “Midtown,” the Arizona Republic a couple of weeks ago had one of its reporters cover efforts to brand—or re-brand—downtown Phoenix. Apparently “Copper Square,” the branding for 90 blocks of shops, hotels restaurants and sports and entertainment venues in the city’s core, has lost its luster, so Downtown Phoenix Partnership, always busily trying to justify the special assessment monies it receives from those constituents, has been working recently on a new campaign.
Reporter Jahna Berry, in the March 2 cover story, also noted that Phoenix is not a pioneer in this kind of effort. She pointed out that Las Vegas, Austin and Omaha—home of iconic tourist draws Warren Buffett, Mutual of Omaha and the fictional “Schmidt” of Alexander Payne’s film “About Schmidt” (predecessor to “Sideways,” his homage to the lesser winemaking areas of California) have also embarked on similar branding efforts. Berry cited these facts as evidence of success in that kind of effort: A 5 percent increase in visitors to Vegas over eight years, or 0.625 percent per year (which, to be generous, was about the same as the rate of population growth in developed countries during this period of an especially weak U.S. dollar—a boon to foreign tourists); a purely anecdotal testament to Austin’s unique live music culture, which may be found there “in some unlikely places”; and the city of Omaha’s own embrace of its new slogan, “O! so surprising.” (What may not be so surprising is that would-be tourists hearing of the slogan assume it refers to O!klahoma, and later need rescuing from mazes in fields of corn as high as an elephant’s eye, where they get lost seeking that state’s urban heart, memorialized in Neil Young’s ballad “The Last Trip to Tulsa.”)
Officials at DPP and representatives of other stakeholders were encouraged in their efforts to rebrand central Phoenix with the phrase, “Arizona’s Urban Heart,” based on surveys they did of East Asian tourists planning the itinerary of their U.S. visit. Leon Wong of Hong Kong, once a champion at ping pong before his early retirement following his college days, was already bringing his family to America for two-week vacation this spring. When he heard of the opportunity to include Arizona’s “urban heart” in the tour, he was quite excited. “But Daddy,” said his youngest daughter Peony, “I thought the Grand Canyon was the place to see in Arizona!” “Ah, but I see here in central Phoenix, they have the Grand Canal,” Leon assured her. “Plus, there’s a brand new city hotel, where we might get to meet other fascinating out-of-towners, like conventioneers!” he enthused.
“But what about the Painted Desert?” protested Leon Jr. “Well, according to an item I saw on a blog about Phoenix—I mean, ‘Arizona’s Urban Heart’—that I found, the Drop In Center (made possible with the collaboration of Native Health and Southwest Center for HIV/AIDS, and which provides youth ages 14 to 24 the opportunity to find jobs, get information and resources, meet with a life-coach, get involved in their community, and empower themselves to be better individuals in a safe environment) got a Fresh Coat of Paint recently,” said Leon, tentatively.
In addition to providing a low-key alternative to the crowds one has to elbow one’s way through for a glimpse at Arizona’s scenic wonders, taking in Arizona’s Urban Heart affords demographers and city planners, not mention regular urban appreciators of all sorts from around the world a thorough opportunity to take in a large and unspectacular urban area in a very specific—and special—stalled state of development, said Jim Flynn, DPP’s director of marketing. “You could visit many other cities—Boston, Chicago, Seattle, Atlanta, Washington, Charleston, St. Louis, Nashville, Dallas, San Diego ... even Omaha—for a sampling of a more mature, culturally vibrant American city. But only here in Phoenix can you find quite this precise mix of endless, near-identical strip malls, sporadic high-rise developments punctuating big-box retail and dining attractions, and dusty undeveloped lots in prime areas--all with a most amazing lack of shade and other pedestrian amenities conducive to the comfort of tourists, who would usually explore these phenomena close up, on foot.”
Plus, Flynn said, the city has perhaps the best preserved, most extensive—and youngest—officially designated historic residential neighborhoods, with dozens of styles ranging from Southwestern to Bungalow. “Isn’t saying the city has the youngest historic neighborhoods a little like saying someone is the world’s tallest dwarf?” asked Comedy Central’s vertically challenged Jon Stewart, upon hearing of the new pitch for Phoenix. “Well, I’m from Austin, and, as far as historic goes, well ... here I am,” said city Historic Preservation Officer Barbara Stocklin. “For now.”
Speaking of heart, “Arizona’s Urban Heart” takes on an entirely new meaning when you consider that between City Hall, the Legislature and even the state’s Congressional delegation, the city may have among the highest proportion of gay, lesbian and bisexual politicians anywhere! San Francisco’s Castro District, eat your urban heart out! (Even if you do have Rice-a-Roni, as part of your branding, keeping tourists coming back for seconds.—Wait—San Francisco’s part of Rice-a-Roni’s branding. Never mind.)
—David Tell

‘Stated income’ loans: Just a way to house homeless!

Subprime: When even the homeless could get a home loan!

Guess who’s coming to dinner! and for aperitifs!

A couple of alert readers noticed that three upscale Midtown restaurants were listed in Wine Spectator magazine’s annual dining guide last August. Durant’s even got recognition for its “inexpensive wine pricing,” while it, The Compass and Cheuvront Wine & Cheese all received the list’s one-wine-glass “Award of Excellence” rating (the lowest rating in the list: two glasses indicates the “Best of Award of Excellence” and three signifies the “Grand Award”).
After noting the “inexpensive” designation, Snatch and Scriff, Midtown’s most carefree and cultivated homeless couple, headed over to Durant’s, where they’ve regularly been enjoying their own special Happy Hour ever since. “They don’t have Thunderbird or Mad Dog, but we make do,” said Snatch. “I’m not drinking any fucking Merlot!” yelled Scriff, then noticing Snatch furiously scratching an instant lottery ticket to the usual disappointing outcome. “Hey, clean that gunk out of yer fingernails,” admonished Scriff. “You know we got to keep up appearances to sit at that nice bar we go to now.” “Yeah, well, you got potatoes growing out yer ears, so mind yer own bizness,” replied the lady. “Yeah, well, my hair covers ’em up, but yer fingernails show through where you wear those mittens with no fingers!” Scriff said.
“Yeah, anyway, we can usually make enough panhandling at the Arco over at 7th and Thomas to drink at Durant’s a whole evening,” he went on. “Although, they close too damn early; this whole town shuts down at like, 8! We started to check out that Cheuvront place, but we woulda had to roll a few junkies on top of our other earnings to drink there reglar. Plus, it looked like the Sheriff’s guys had stopped in there while transporting inmates on the light rail, so then we kinda didn’t feel that welcome. Plus, I did take a sip of some red wine and burned my tongue. Dude needs to keep it at cellar tempature, you know you can’t serve that good stuff at this city’s ambent heat!”
“So yeah, we headed up round the corner a bit to have some grub over at that My Florist eatery,” chimed in Snatch. “Did you know, it’s vertically integrated with that bread place next door?”
“How can it be vertical if it’s next door, my haggy honey?” interjected Scriff. “But yeah, everything on the menu is carbs, so we’re not going back. Snatch has to watch her figure; her boobs are already down to her ubiquitous. You know, her nagel.”
“It’s my bellybuppin, you boob, and you need a mansiere your own self,” Snatch retorted. “But yeah, that menu: bread this, bread that. They had a bread samwich--bread with bread in the middle I mean! They had a crouton omelet, bread pudding, pumpernickel soup. They had bread dip served in a bread bowl with toast points, French toast stuffed with bread crumbs.”
“Yeah, they had a lot of bread stuff,” Scriff agreed. “So, we also decided to check out that Compass place at the top of the Hyatt, but you know, it turns, and Snatch lost her cookies, so we hadda leave.”
“Bread cookies,” mumbled Snatch. “So, they was mostly able to sweep it up, chunks.”
“So, yeah, I’m kinda proud to be homeless where we got those three fine bars; that list was of dozens of places all around the state,” Scriff said, adding wistfully, “Maybe someday we can get a car and check ’em all out. I wanna get one of them Chevy Volts, when they come out—well, they were supposed to come out this year, now it’s next. So maybe when they really do, we’ll be able to get one.”
“Yeah, my stinky sweetie, when my AIG stock ever gets out of the dumper, we can,” Snatch soothed him. “But we can’t get a Volt, we got no place to plug it in! Ahh, too bad your investment guy’s feeder fund was invested with that Madoff a-hole.”
“Yeah, that sucked,” agreed Scriff dolefully. Then he perked up as they rounded the corner at 3rd Street and Monte Vista and noticed their former home, in the posh Los Olivos Historic District. “New owners seem to be takin pretty good care of it,” he said. “Course they are! Banks don’t let that stuff, nice property, go downhill, you know,” Snatch agreed, shielding her head from a rare sprinkle of rain with her tattered copy of Town and Country.
—David Tell

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Reviews pre-'09 Oscars--read 'em and weep

A loaf of bread, a jug of wine, a good book & thou
“The Reader” isn’t about the Holocaust, about Auschwitz, about German collective guilt or the guilt of complicit or evil individuals, even though it features a World War II war crimes trial. It is not about a love story, though there is a beautiful, sexy love story depicted in it.
It is about the transformative power of art, in particular, in this case, literature. And literature, a teacher at one point in the film says, is centrally about the control of information—the protecting, the withholding, the selective disclosing of information (whether by characters in the story or by its narrator). If we accept this thesis, literature is crucially about secrets, and “The Reader” is largely, primarily about the harm keeping secrets can do. When Michael (Ralph Fiennes) decides, after all, not to visit Hannah (Kate Winslet) during the trial he is observing as part of his training as a young law student, to press her to disclose to the court the information that would partially exculpate her from the worst, false accusation against her—which could lessen her sentence—it is hard to figure. But it makes sense if we understand, as above, what the film is about, and see that he has decided to let her harm herself with her pridefully protected secret just as she so deeply hurt him by her refusal to admit the same secret to him. That’s why he later doesn’t write to her along with sending the tapes. Why, when he asks whether she thinks about the past, he doesn’t mean their past, but her own guilty history. Why he is not more tender in that visit. In sending her the tapes, he thus clearly is not re-enacting a lover’s tender mercies. He is offering her an avenue to her own richer partaking in the kind of exploration of human moral experience, questioning of choices and, ultimately, self-examination that literature presents opportunity for. And, one surmises, it works—additionally prompted by the emotional distance evinced and moral query posed during his final visit to her—with the sad but perhaps just twist represented by her subsequent, final choice. He later unburdens himself to his daughter, as, earlier, the lifelong emotional distance he has held himself in in the protection of his own deep secret has been revealed to have harmed her (among others, we must assume), and his relationships with her and them.

‘Stepford Wives’—the prequel
“Revolutionary Road” is the other Kate Winslet vehicle of the season, based on an acclaimed novel by Richard Yates—whom I heard interviewed, drunkenly aggrandizing himself in an unearthed tape played on an NPR show. This one is clearly about something more focused than in all the broad hype: the hopeless, stultifying life that being a suburban housewife was in the ’50s and ’60s. Whether Winslet’s “April” had little talent as an actress or it was just wasted where it was exercised—pearls before and among swine—isn’t clear. (Though hubbie Frank, played by ol’ Leonardo DiCaprio, sure did go on about it in an annoying case of verbal diarrhea.) But, damn, I’d sure love the little woman to clasp me around the knees, and urge me to forsake gainful employment to “find myself” in Paris, where she’d support me—because I am just that wonderful thing: a man! But Frank only reluctantly buys in, and especially after he takes a mistress and is offered a promotion at the office, it’s clearer than ever that Paris is for April—it’s her only hope for an alternative to decades of Stepfordian drudgery. Michael Shannon provides great, dark comic relief, as the son of a neighbor on furlough from electroconvulsive therapy (shock treatments) at a mental hospital. Nominated for a best supporting actor award, clearly he’s intended as one of the few voices of sanity in conformo-land.

Exploring the female psyche. Watch out for the Minotaur
Is the idea in "Vicky Cristina Barcelona" supposed to be that human love and sexuality burst the bounds, overflow the banks, transcend the categories we try to set? That planning and aiming at what we want, or, alternatively, staying open to impulse and passion are both (and neither) the preferred approach? Or is it that women, even if they knew what they wanted, couldn't have it, being perennially dissatisfied and frivolous and labile—volatile and fickle? (As men are, but at least we hardly agonize over it anywhere near as much, and the film explores the women's interiority much more than the men's. Speaking of which, is this narrated in voice-over by the same guy as in "The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford"? I'll have to check.) This is the best film of Woody Allen's since "Match Point," which itself was a high point in a major, decades-long dry period. At least Scarlett Johansson's put to much better use here than in "Scoop." But this film goes back to the heyday of "Manhattan" and "Hannah and Her Sisters," as a much more complex and nuanced look at relationships than much in between. Consider it a "Hannah and Her Sisters" meets "How to Make an American Quilt" (the latter being a film a former girlfriend urged me to watch, but said I wouldn't "get." Dumb cunt. Of course I got it; as here, or more than here, it's about how women are in fact thoroughly programmed, largely by their own mothers, to be unable to have, or enjoy, or keep, what they want—or think they want.) And, man, that Penelope Cruz, what a crazy, psycho bitch! But it's not so expressive a portrayal of a role resonating with or transcending my intimate, personal experience of crazy, psycho bitches such as to, for that reason, deserve an Oscar.

Life is like box of buttons
The odd premise is well-realized, technically, and "The Strange Case of Benjamin Button's" acting and production values are fairly flawless. But in its loosely episodic narrative with its patina of well-polished, folky wisdom, it reminded both of us independently of “Forrest Gump”—and that was before we found out it was written by the same guy. Tell you what: You want to watch Brad Pitt age backwards? Go rent “Thelma and Louise” and “Kalifornia.” Otherwise, watching Kate Winslet in “The Reader” aging in the forward direction—though largely without accumulating much wisdom in the process—is much more satisfying.

Gaza, shmaza. Even when they're the oppressed, don't mess with most Jews
As I’ve said in these pages before, notwithstanding the unique straits of those who were rounded up in the Holocaust, we Jews have no particular innate streak of meek subservience, as this film amply proves. Even in the scene in "Defiance" where the weakened crowd subsisting in the forest to hide from the Nazis and their henchmen kick and beat the stray German soldier to death, I realized it was right and proper, even though your first impulse is to think Tuvia Bielski (Daniel Craig), their leader, is going to step in and stop it. But he doesn’t, recognizing that their murderous, mob rage is a just revenge for the ruthless brutalization of their loved ones at the Germans’ hands. I must say, I disagreed with Roger Ebert’s view that Craig’s character is flat while his brother’s, played by Liev Schreiber, is nuanced and evolutionary—he has it exactly backwards. It is Craig who gets to play the role where the requirements of leadership impose the toughest choices—choices he often wrestles with and resists, growing more resolute and decisive only when forced to; sometimes not soon enough. Directed by Ed Zwick of “The Last Samurai,” “30something” and “My So-Called Life.”

And don't mess with Clint Eastwood, even when he gets troublesome moral qualms
Indeed a great performance by Eastwood in "Gran Torino," with a lot of nice, politically incorrect touches. And he takes his archetypal characters’ vengeance theme in a new direction, which I won’t spoil further except to say, note the final pose, akin to Pete Postlethwaite’s at a clicheed but “crucially” symbolic point in Jim Sheridan’s great “In the Name of the Father,” which also starred Emma Thompson and Daniel Day-Lewis earlier in their brilliant careers. (A film notably, newly relevant in this our era of contending with terrorism "vs." our precious civil rights and liberties.)

Rourke's always been a surprisingly low-key, affable fella
With realistic-verging-on-real wrestling scenes that are difficult to watch, and scenes of wrenching and tender emotional interactions from which you can’t look away, this latest Darren Aronofsky film is a worthy contender for best film. As transfixing Mickey Rourke is to watch in his more emotive moments, what also charms in this film is his character’s easy, gentle friendliness, his natural charm and likability. He has a casual way with kids that you also see in the scene, re-watching the classic thriller “Angel Heart,” where he first approaches Epiphany Proudfoot. (And in "The Pope of Greenwich Village," where the perennial "kid" refusing to take responsibility is the estimable Eric Roberts.) The scenes where he is waiting on customers in the deli are priceless, but his exit from that gig is tragic, as is the film. (I thought I’d cry more at the theme of the estrangement from an adult daughter, but if you’ve read the review in our December issue of Charlie Kaufman’s “Synecdoche, N.Y.” (which we were sorry to see did not even get a nod for best original screenplay or production design), you may realize we’ve already had our catharsis on that topic for the indefinite time being.) Noting that we heartily complimented Marisa Tomei’s protracted frontal nudity in “Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead” last year, there’s more here, but even more in “Angel Heart,” which was kind of out there even for its time (featuring the boobs of Charlotte Rampling, Lisa Bonet and some other fetching babe). What’s also interesting is that this film was co-written by William Hjortsberg, we noticed upon re-screening it recently, based on his novel. He also wrote an interesting sci-fi tale published in an early Playboy formative of me in horny adolescence, about a future where we're all brains in vats being groomed for enlightenment and to then be deserving of a body to go live in paradise anew. But the first brain successfully kept alive, of a horny 12-year-old, finds his intellect aging backward as it consumes--depletes--his limited store of experiences while he is having hot virtual sex in an affair with an aging East European B-movie star. (Kind of like the "Ouroboros" theme in Kaufman's film "Adaptation," where the question is whether the screenwriter will ultimately overcannibalize his own life using self-referential material, and which may have gotten more awards than our predicted one for Chris Cooper for Best Supporting Actor.) Title of the Hjortsberg story: "Gray Matters." Kind of relevant to "Benjamin Button" ... "Benjamin Button" meets "Lawnmower Man" meets "The Matrix." Back to “The Wrestler,” it has an ending that disturbed Marci in a way similar to how the sudden blackout at the end of “No Country for Old Men” did. She wanted it to end up with Rourke’s character in the hospital bed again with Marisa Tomei there holding his hand, about to face their new life together taking care of his poor heart. But as I explained to her, he returned to the life he knew and probably fatal heart attack because, among other things, his heart had already been broken. "Trite," but true. (The daughter thing notwithstanding.)

(Not up for an Oscar this year. Or any year:)

It’s a mad mad mad mad mad mad dating world
I realized, watching "He's Just Not That Into You," the formula of its title isn’t quite right, requires some refinement. With so many new avenues for meeting potential romantic partners—and so many ways of juggling multiple prospects, for cheating, evading, dissing, blowing people off, putting them off, holding them off, keeping them in suspense, yet keeping them available—thinking they’re in the running, or are The One—it’s clearly more complicated than “Does he like me or not? Is he going to call or not? Is she into me or not?.” The real formula isn’t “He’s just not that into you”—it’s “He’s just not that into just you”! I should know. I’ve got a book in the works on my life dating, preying, dumping, loving and losing using the personals; in fact, I tried to interest Greg Behrendt’s literary agency in it, it being in somewhat the same vein as his original book the film is loosely derived from. That said, and as much as I’ve seen a fleeting write-off of the film as superficial, it’s not that bad. Ginnifer Goodwin, the ingenuous third wife in HBO’s polygamist “Big Love,” brings a similar energetic optimism to “Not Into You,” though it veers over into obsessive, self-deluded microscrutiny of every “signal” sent by potential partners, suitors, dates. A lot of the film is somewhat lightweight genre stuff, but it also offers characters who are in genuine non-farcical pain, such as Jennifers Connelly and Aniston. The film is admittedly full of false notes, with the monologue by Drew Barrymore about the number of tech channels through which you can hook up or be blown off being exactly as “exhausting” to hear in the film as it was when incessantly repeated in commercials and trailers. Justin Long as Alex is only believable in his jaded, insensitive, cynical-realist mode, as the vehicle for the disappointing clarity of insight Behrendt’s book purports to offer, and not in his transformation into the romantic lead. He wasn’t too likable in either mode, as much as I identified with him in the first one. (And Marci identified with Goodwin’s Gigi; and Long and Goodwin made improbable partners, just as—at least in others’ eyes—M and I do.) The set of dalliances in which Scarlett Johansson is the link displays some reprehensible activities, but worst of all ... what was up with Kevin Connolly’s hair? In one scene in particular, it looked like he had just been dipped upside-down in Grecian Formula and blow-dried on high. I kept expecting him to realize he was gay. You know, I guess this film was pretty bad, after all; it’s certainly not more than the sum of its often flimsy parts. Especially in that, at the end, it upholds the contra-premise: that it’s better in the end to be able to yearn, gaga- (Gigi-)like, eternally, hopefully, desperately wishing there is something there that may not be—and probably isn’t.

—David Tell